The Huskers were going to have to walk a fine line coming into the season with the situation at running back. Senior Dedrick Mills was the team’s clear starter and there were a bevy of talented running backs behind him. The catch? Those running backs were also very young. Mills remaining healthy was going to be key to Nebraska’s rushing attack in the 2020 season.
Unfortunately, Mills has not played since early in the first half in the Penn State game. We’ve seen some glimpses from freshman Marvin Scott but the freshman from Florida got nicked up in the game against Iowa. The Huskers have also used redshirt freshman Rahmir Johnson more as of late, and Coach Scott Frost liked what he saw from him against the Hawkeyes.
“I thought he did really well,” Frost said on Monday. “We’ve been waiting for Rahmir to kind of attack everything. Thought he took advantage of opportunities. It was good to see him get in the end zone. That’s a position where all we have really available to us with Mills down is freshmen. I think those guys would play pretty well considering their age and level of experience and Coach (Ryan) Held’s done a good job”
Frost isn’t kidding when he says the only players available after Mills were freshmen. Scott, Johnson, Ronald Thompkins and Cooper Jewett were the backs who traveled to Iowa. Each is a freshman.
Frost did give some details on what the injuries are with Mills and Scott though.
“Mills got rolled up on a little bit. Marvin got hit in the head, and the other kids are not available for health reasons right now,” Frost said. “So I don’t think you can point to anything other than football on that but we knew we needed to get a lot of young guys ready because we were going in with one veteran with experience.”
Knowing they are short on experience, the Huskers staff is trying to get as many guys ready to roll as possible. Offensive coordinator Matt Lubick described how things are going with the running back group on Tuesday.
“We definitely want to keep rotating guys because we that keeps guys fresh,” Lubick said. “That’s a testament to the running back room that we have capable guys that can all go in there and play. It’s one of the positions that takes the most pounding. I think at one point or another they have all been nicked up. So, you have to play a lot of guys. The way we practice we let all those guys take reps. Our job as coaches is to keep things simple enough that they can all go in and play well. The guys that have gone in have done a good job.”
The Nebraska rushing attack hasn’t been close to what it historically is in Frost’s offense. There are many reasons the ground game has sputtered. It’s a mixed bag of offensive line play, running back rotation and opponents with good run defenses.
If the Huskers are going to take a step forward on offense starting this weekend at Purdue, they will need one of the unproven players to breakout.
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.